Friday, August 12, 2011

Bacon Salad

The French know how to eat. Really. This is proof. Bacon salad. Bien sûr, they don't call it that; they use the much more refined term, "Frisée aux lardons". Or in this case, "Frisée aux lardons, vinaigrette aux mûres". Pork fat, by any other name, would taste as sweet.

This is a great dish to munch while you're waiting for your mesquite-grilled chicken or some other port-deprived dish. One of the best things about bacon is that after eating it, you're not hungry and can wait as long as it takes for the next course to be ready.

Frisée aux lardons, sauce mûres

  • Frisée, one head, base cut off, washed, artfully arranged on a plate in a mound of frizziness.
  • Bacon, in this case uncured (that makes it health food)
  • Fresh blackberry juice/pulp, seeds strained out
  • Brown sugar
  • White sugar
  • Water
  • Red wine vinegar (formerly Two Buck Chuck and mixed reds)
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Lemon juice
  • Lime juice
  • Garlic (this was some fancy French stuff, and it worked well)
  • Pine nuts
(yeah, that's a lot of ingredients for a salad but not to worry)

  1. Pour the sugar (to taste) into the water in a pan, reduce down until it caramelizes (this is the base for a gastrique).
  2. Add the blackberry juice, reduce some more.
  3. While the gastrique is doing its thing, sauté the bacon with the garlic and pine nuts. Reserve.
  4. Arrange the washed frisée leaves on a plate, making sure to create an artful and appetizing mound of leaves.
  5. Spoon the bacon/pine nut mixture over the frisée.
  6. Add the lemon and lime juice to the blackberry sauce.
  7. Spoon or pour the sauce over the bacon mixture and frisée.
  8. Taste for saltiness. It should be adequate because of the bacon. Likewise, you don't need to add oil because the bacon takes care of this for you. If it needs a bit more salt, garnish with something cool like Maldon smoked salt flakes or Hawaiian black sea salt.
  9. Serve immediately while the bacon is still warm.
You don't have to use bacon. You could use Pancetta or some other fatty, porky delicacy. You could even use gésiers de canard confits... but then that would be more of a salade landaise (my absolute favorite, but getting preserved duck gizzards is a challenge here).

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